This is my fourth year now of not smoking. I used willpower to quit. I went cold turkey. I was talking to my doctor about quitting because I had high blood pressure. He offered me a patch. But I told him that I’m going to try and help myself first.
I’m a councillor for the Cross Lake Band. But I used to be an Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative (ADI) worker. My job was to promote healthy eating and living. That’s when I started thinking seriously about my health. I wanted to be a healthy role model.
So I quit smoking, started eating healthy and did my exercises. My husband Reginald supported me. He quit nine years before me. Instead of smoking, we would go for a walk.
After I quit, I noticed that I didn’t have colds every month. I used to get colds all the time and cough a lot. My breathing is healthier now. My taste has improved. I feel good. My blood pressure is back to normal.
I know some women are worried that they will gain weight if they stop smoking. But, you know, I used to weigh 245 lbs. when I smoked. Today, I’m still working on my weight, but through healthy eating, I’ve lost about 25 to 30 lbs. A lot of people would come into my office and ask how I did it. I would tell them just eat small portions, three times a day, and drink lots of water.
Some people don’t want to quit smoking because they’re afraid they’ll gain weight. But that’s an excuse. They just don’t want to quit smoking!
There are a lot of people smoking in our community. And there’s a lot of cancer, too. So that really motivated me to do something. That’s why I started The Blue Light Project. It’s brought a lot of awareness about smoking in our community. I hope other communities will adopt the project, too.
If I can quit, so can you. You just have to challenge yourself and motivate yourself to do other things, instead of smoking.